Ed Driscoll

Ghost Writers In The Sky

After famously complaining that Sarah Palin used a ghostwriter on her autobiography in multiple blog posts (thus making her one of the small minority of 99 percent of politicians and celebrities to employ such a person), we now learn that Andrew Sullivan employs plenty of what Mickey Kaus dubs “dopplebloggers” himself. On Sullivan’s blog,  Patrick Appel responds to the critics of his boss’s blog:

A reader writes:

To learn that nearly half the posts on Andrew’s blog are not his posts proper (but admittedly prepared under his aegis) is somewhat disheartening. I think the blog owes it to the readers and its own high standards to start putting bylines on all posts.

We tried bylines once and it made the blog read funny. Almost all the posts I write are naked links or excerpts, which makes Andrew a weather-vane in the gale of the larger debate.

I’ve marinated in Sullivan’s cerebral juices for a few years now [Ewwww — Ed] and know intuitively what he interested in and what to bring to his attention. If Chris and I were forced to byline the posts we write under Andrew’s supervision, we would have to own those opinions and draw contrasts with Andrew, as we do when he takes vacations. Bylines would fracture the solitary voice of the blog.

While plenty of newspaper journalists employ research assistants, to the best of my knowledge, the only section of the paper that historically has often been crafted by others are the cartoons. “Dillfield” the cartoon may only have the byline of “Capp Schultz”, but quite frequently, once his cartoon has been around for a few years, the cartoonist will bring in fresh talent to write the gags, sketch the cartoons, and ink them. Dick Tracy, Garfield, and numerous other cartoons operate this way, allowing the cartoonist to turn his creation into an industry, not to mention take a vacation from time to time, or launch new projects. But it’s typically billed as being crafted by one man. Multiple bylines would fracture the solitary voice of the cartoon.

And why yes, that would be the appropriate section of the newspaper to place what Sullivan’s blog has gradually morphed into.